"The Lost Tapes: Patty Hearst" Revisits the Story of an American Heiress Turned Into FBI's 'Most Wanted'

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20 November 2017
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The Lost Tapes: Patty Hearst
Patty Hearst as Symbionese Liberation Army comrade Tania, April 1974
Courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
"The Lost Tapes: Patty Hearst"
Premieres Sunday, November 26 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
 
          On February 4, 1974, 19-year-old Patricia “Patty” Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley, California apartment. Because she was the granddaughter of American publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, Patty’s kidnapping left authorities confounded and the American public glued to its television screens watching the saga of an abducted American heiress unfold. The Lost Tapes: Patty Hearst tells the inside story, without interviews or narration, utilizing Hearst’s own voice recordings, footage of her first interview following her release and first-hand audio tapes of the kidnappers. In addition, rediscovered news footage allows viewers to experience all of the confusion, fear and absurdity that held a nation in thrall for 19 months.   
 

          Shortly after Patty’s abduction, a left-wing urban guerrilla group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, claimed responsibility. The SLA intended to leverage the Hearst family’s fortune and political influence and issued a series of demands to Patty’s father, Randolph Hearst. When his efforts to comply failed to satisfy them, the SLA released recorded messages of Patty to local news outlets, giving the public a direct line into the bizarre ordeal. In these communiqués, Patty speaks directly to her parents and law enforcement from inside the SLA’s hideout, first assuring them that she is unharmed, but soon growing agitated with her parents’ failures to meet SLA demands and with the FBI for antagonizing her captors.
 
The Lost Tapes: Patty Hearst
Mugshot of Patty Hearst upon her arrest in San Francisco in 09/18/75 - Courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
 
          Only a couple of months into her captivity, Patty is heard on tape renouncing her family, her fiancé and her own name – claiming to have joined the SLA as a machine gun-toting guerrilla known as Tania. When members of the SLA, including Tania, rob a bank at gunpoint, Patty Hearst, the kidnapping victim, becomes Tania, the fugitive. Hearst was eventually arrested for bank robbery, and the events came to a dramatic conclusion when a jury rejected her claims that she’d been brainwashed by her captors. She was convicted of bank robbery, among other crimes. THE LOST TAPES: PATTY HEARST features the chilling communiqués of Patty and other SLA members taken from their hideout, rare news coverage of the “People In Need” food program, intense on-the-ground footage of the massive LAPD shootout with the SLA and portions of the CBS special Patty Hearst: Her Story – one of the first interviews Patty Hearst gave in 1976 after being released on bail.
 
 
 

 
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